By Ker’Shyra Myrick
With their mission being to provide exceptional recreational opportunities to customers and their citizens, the Post Falls Parks and Recreation Department in Idaho offers a variety of youth sports programs to their 35,000 residents.
And one of the more popular ones is the Start Smart Baseball program.
“Our previous baseball program started at age 5, so we wanted to offer more preschool-aged activities,” says Rachel Lane, recreation supervisor at Post Falls. “In our community we have noticed more families wanting to get involved in Pre-K programs so that prompted us to start the Start Smart Baseball program.”
The program was a hit, attracting more than 60 children and their parents.
Start Smart Baseball is a developmentally appropriate introductory baseball program for children 3-5 years old. The program prepares children for organized tee ball, baseball and softball in a fun, non-threatening environment.
“The biggest impact this program has had on our community is that it has allowed us to offer Pre-K programs and highlights our youth baseball league that is played at the same location,” said Lane. “We love that the program allows players to start young and continue their love of the game.”
The love for the program does not stop with the recreational staff; it continues with the parents as well.
“Parents have enjoyed the scaled-down equipment for the players,” Lane said. “We’ve also heard that parents like the social aspect that their youngster is getting from participating in the Start Smart program.”
Start Smart Baseball, created by the National Alliance for Youth Sports, features age appropriate equipment from Franklin Sports® that is used in teaching throwing, catching, batting, running and agility.
“The Post Falls Recreation Department would absolutely recommend any of the Start Smart programs,” said Lane. “We believe a program that allows kids to keep their equipment and get a first look at a sport is great for the community. Start Smart offers a full curriculum of skills and activities that any staff members or volunteer can pick up and teach.”
Start Smart programs help kids get ready for sports – and succeed in life. It is an innovative step-by-step approach that builds confidence and self-esteem in a fun and safe sports environment.
“One of our parents told us that this program was the first team environment that their child had,” said Lane. “Their child was shy and not one to participate; however, after this program he gained confidence and was able to interact with other players without direct parent involvement.”
Interacting with others and staying connected in a healthy and positive environment are just a few key essentials that make youth sports so wonderful and the NAYS Start Smart programs are an excellent catalyst for providing that opportunity.
“We are proud of the opportunity we have provided for families to engage and interact with each other in the summer,” Lane said. “Start Smart has allowed families to meet and connect on a common ground.”Start Smart Baseball
National Alliance for Youth Sports, Inc
2050 Vista Parkway
West Palm Beach, Florida 33411
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